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We Got It Wrong: CORI
The Irish Catholic by Siobhán Tanner

The Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI) has admitted that it bungled its handling of the Ryan Report.

Sr Marianne O'Connor, CORI's director general, agreed that it had been slow in co-ordinating a proper response to the report into child abuse in industrial schools.

''I agree that we were slow, there is no doubt; we didn't handle it well,'' she told The Irish Catholic this week.

The body, which represents 138 religious congregations, is now distancing itself from the 18 congregations that were implicated in the report and will not be attending a meeting today (Thursday) between the Taoiseach and representatives from the 18 orders to discuss further contributions to a €1.3 billion compensation bill for victims of abuse. is believed that CORI will no longer be issuing statements on behalf of the 18 congregations.

CORI garnered huge public criticism after it issued a statement last Friday rejecting calls to revisit a 2002 indemnity deal, saying it would instead ''deal directly with victims''.

The negative publicity was compounded by an appearance on RTE's Morning Ireland programme by Sr O'Connor.

Defending the appearance, Sr O'Connor said ''there was an understanding that the redress scheme would not be a suitable vehicle to help victims, listening to the horrific accounts of people trying to validate their claims under the Redress Board, it is patently obvious that it's not the way to do things in the future; that was the point, unfortunately we didn't get it across''.

Sr Marianne O'Connor said CORI's role had been misunderstood and it was not acting as a spokesperson for the 18 orders.

Under the leadership of Presentation Sister Elizabeth Maxwell, CORI had facilitated the 2002 indemnity deal between the State and the orders.

''We called a meeting of the 18 in January, we had heard from them on their strategy on how they were going to respond.

''It was seen as a matter for each of the individual 18 organisations, not CORI.''

She said CORI later issued a statement because: ''It became evident of the simply ghastly cumulative nature of the abuse; this was so horrendous that every member of the church was being affected.''